Outage

The night of the power outage, Bernie called to check that I was okay. This was two weeks ago. I told her I was fine, and then asked if she was okay. And that was the call. But it was over too quick, and I had a jittery guilt from not having talked more with her, so I called her back and asked if she was really okay, that she hadn’t sounded herself just now, which was a lie—she’d sounded perfectly alright. She said really she was fine, with a smile in her voice. I told her I’d spoken earlier … Continue reading Outage

NOTHING

‘None of this is real,’ he said. ‘Didn’t you know that? Did nobody ever tell you?’ ‘They told me other things,’ I said. ‘Stories and rules. But not that. These trees, and the sky: they’re real, aren’t they?’ ‘None of it. All of it doesn’t exist. It’s a confection; as real as a puff of dragon’s breath.’ ‘But dragon’s breathe,’ I said. ‘And I exist. My skin is warm.’ I took his hand, and placed it onto my bare chest. ‘ Where I touch myself, here. There’s life beneath my fingers. Can you feel it?’ ‘It’s illusory. All of it. … Continue reading NOTHING

HENRY

It’s the usual cafe, every Saturday. Today, Aaron asks for a banana milkshake, and his brother says he’ll have one too. “He always has the same as me,” says Aaron. And it’s true, the brother always has exactly the same, whatever it is. “Why do you have to copy me?” says Aaron, riled by his brother’s smile. “I decided to have banana before we came in,” says his brother. “So maybe you copied me.” “I’ll have strawberry instead,” says Aaron. The waiter looks at Henry, who turns away. Henry tells the boys that he’s going to the toilet, and to behave … Continue reading HENRY

Sometimes, I Wish

Sometimes I wish there were a bed at the library. In a corner, out of the way. Or not a bed exactly, but something bedlike. A pile of cushions would do. A place set up for a drowse. For half an hour. Or twenty minutes should be enough. The length of a tea break. Time to lie and think, and drift upwards and out over the rooftops, to a green and warm place. I’ll set my alarm so I don’t outstay the welcome. No one will come over and poke me with their toe, and tell me that you can’t … Continue reading Sometimes, I Wish